Wednesday, 25 December 2013

It's Christmas day & another year is almost finished. I am looking back over the past year, & looking ahead, to what is coming. Anyway, I can't seem to remember all the stuff I wanted to say, so I will have to come back & finish this later. Time to go watch "A Muppet Family Christmas."

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Today's the 14th, getting things happening for the holidays. I crossed the border yesterday, got the last of the presents mailed off. We have the tree up & decorated.
I have been designing some of our own Christmas cards again this year. I wasn't sure I was going to continue doing it, given that Picnik closed & I loved some of the special effects they had, like this:

But some new sites that I've recently found, have some really beautiful & amazing Christmas frames & I am quite happy with them.

In other news, I rode 7 miles on my exercise bike this morning, a new personal best for me! We bought it in late August, to help us both stay in better shape, during the nasty weather.
It does seem to have been helpful. I am pushing myself a bit, as I am having a lot of trouble losing weight & getting in better shape & I know that given my upcoming foot surgery in January, it is bound to be a challenging time.

Friday, 6 December 2013

It's early December, getting ready for the holidays. Shopping, baking, all that fun stuff. Made a batch of peppermint patties, chocolate coconut balls & Frosty's hats, last week. I forgot to take a photo, but here's one of last Christmas's Frosty hats.
I've been trying out several new free sites with Christmas (& other) frames, to make my own Christmas cards. Here's some examples:
I've been having a lot of fun, trying different styles. I was so sad when picnic closed, they had a wonderful frame of lights, like this:
I haven't been able to find another program that does this, if you find one, please let me know. Thank you.
Well, hopefully I'll get back on here before my birthday & Christmas come around, but just in case I don't

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

It's early November, Thanksgiving & Halloween are finished. Thanksgiving is coming soon & then my birthday & Christmas! Before you think it's a typo, or that I have lost my marbles, we do celebrate Thanksgiving twice, once in October (Canadian) & also in November, because my husband & I are a bi-national couple. If you ever wondered why Canada & the US have different Thanksgiving dates, here's the answer (I clipped this from a local free newspaper, several years ago:
I made Frosty's hats last week & they are still amazing. Something different I noticed, though. The last 2 times I made them, were a bit different from the 1st time.  The first time, 8 ounces of baking chocolate (with 1 tsp. cooking oil), made 8 hats. The 2nd time, 8 ounces of chocolate made 12 hats. This time, it made 15! I am not doing anything differently, as far as I can tell, so I am not sure why the difference. I will have re-calculate the calories though, as it was based on the 1st time.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Being disabled, I spend a lot of time online. Email, Facebook, Yahoo messenger, Skype/MSN messenger. I even have a free google phone to make long distance calls, in Canada & the US.

You can learn a lot of interesting things online. Recipes, new ways of doing just about anything. Recently, I saw a couple of posts on Facebook about growing food from scraps. Seems like a very eco-friendly, environmentally friendly idea. But how practical is it & does it really work? I don't see growing green onions from the white bulb end, because to me, it's the best tasting part! I have grown them from dried bulbs, there's a little Indian vegetable market that carries them in the spring. So I decided to try celery. This won't work if you buy loose stocks or pre-cut celery.
You start with a full bunch of celery, still attached. Cut off about1" - 2" from the bottom. Place it in a plant pot, water it every day or 2, still it next to a window, so it gets some sunshine.

In about a week, this should be what you see:

Saturday, September  14, 2013
Update: I forgot to water the celery every day & it died. I may try again next year,
I don't know. I think I am about done for this year.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Canning season is here & I have been a busy little bumblebee. I am sure having a lot of fun!
Have you ever wondered what 100 pounds of tomatoes would look like, when it was finished being canned? Well, now you don't need to wonder, because you can see for yourself. I added up all the tomatoes we've bought in the last 3 weeks (I also get some freebies from the Salvation Army, due to the wonderful generosity of local gardeners, farmers & other folks. And several jars went straight into the fridge & got eaten up). Plus I am not quite finished the box we picked up yesterday. So I did the math & this roughly 100 pounds of tomatoes:
It was a lot of fun, but I am glad my canning season is nearly over.
Darn it, I am craving a Frosty's hat right now!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

I just ran out of St. Ives' Vanilla skin crème. Actually, that's not completely accurate. It would more accurate to say that what was left was no longer accessible. The way it is designed, when there is about 1 & 1/2 inches left, it can no longer reach the bottom of the tube attached to the squirt top mechanism, which is frustrating. It's very thick, so even trying to leave it upside-down overnight in another container didn't work very well. Also, because of the container's shape, it is very difficult to clean out, so the plastic can be recycled. Here is what I ended up having to do:
I had to cut the top off the container, and use a tiny spoon, to get the remaining crème out of the container, so it wouldn't be wasted. It was too thick to even use the funnel. Seriously, there really should be an easier way to package this, to ensure there isn't a lot of wasted product & to make it easier to recycle the plastic container. I read somewhere that plastics may take up to 1,000 years to bio-degrade! That's horrible. I re-cycle a lot, but I wish that companies, would help us out & make it easier for us to do.

I canned 30 pounds of tomatoes last week & another 30 pounds yesterday (Wednesday) morning. Lots of work, but it is also a lot of fun!! Here is what slightly less than 60 pounds of tomatoes looks like after:

The reason I said almost 60 pounds, is that I made 2 jars that went straight into the fridge.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Now that the weather has finally warmed up a bit, we've been getting out a little more. Here's a video history of some of our recent travels.

We visited Cascade Falls park on June 02, 2013. The video is available here:

We visited Harrison Hot Springs on July 11, 2013. You can see the video here:

We just got back from a trip to Squamish last weekend.  We also drove up to Brandywine Falls. You can watch the combined video here:

Sunday, 16 June 2013

I've been doing quite a bit of swimming this past month, generally between 20 & up to 70 laps one day (in 2 separate sessions). I hurt my foot yesterday & didn't feel like swimming today. The weather widget says it's going to rain for the next 3 days, hopefully by the time we get our nice weather back, my foot will be better. Here's a picture of our pool last summer.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

More recipe notes, for a Saturday afternoon

I belong to a lot of recipe sites, I am always getting interesting new recipes, in my email & on Facebook.  I tried this amazing recipe, which I did not expect to like, but it has become a new favourite of mine, Frosty's hats

They are delicious & very simple & easy to make. Take 8 Oreos place them on a plate, lined with wax paper. Melt 4 ounces of baking chocolate with 1 tsp. of cooking oil, or butter (NOT margarine!).
Take 8 large marshmallows, dip them carefully in the chocolate & then place 1 on each Oreo. Using a small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the marshmallow & Oreo, then add sprinkles. Refrigerate until firm. ENJOY!!                   
Surprisingly, only 195 calories each.

I saw some very interesting photos on Facebook, for a bacon wrapped turkey. I decided to try it, last Christmas (2012). Here's my video on YouTube, of the results:

I am making baked French fires for supper. I've been craving them all week. Baking them uses only 1 Tbsp. of oil for 2 potatoes, so it is way healthier than frying/deep frying.

It's funny, last summer I wanted to make French fries, but I broke my French fry cutter. I looked around & could not find one that I liked, at a reasonable price. I was talking on the phone with my mother one day & she laughed. "Why don't you just cut the potatoes into slices on your cutting board & then slice them into french fries. That's what I did, before we had a French fry cutter." Amazing how simple an idea it was, when I finally looked at it, the right way. All a french fry cutter is, is 2 set of blades. It is a time-saver, it took me all of about 3 minutes to cut up my potato! (we really need a sarcasm font!)

And you know what, I even made home-made Fry sauce!! For those of you who aren't from Idaho like my husband, people you don't know what you are missing! It's amazing! I made myself thoroughly sick of ketchup when I was a teenager, this is absolutely perfect.  Here's my adaptation of a recipe I found online:

Michaelann's fry sauce
1/2 c. lite Mayo
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. dill pickle juice (with garlic bits, if possible)
a dash of Cajun spice

Mix well & refrigerate to let the flavours blend.

Oven-baked French fries
1 - 2 potatoes per person (depends on appetite)
1 Tbsp. oil (in bowl)

Cut potatoes,  dip in oil & place on cookie sheet, or baking pan.
Sprinkle with salt & I also like Cajun spice on mine. Bake at 400F
for 20 minutes, turn them over. Sprinkle a little more salt.
Bake another 10 minutes.

Welcome to Michaelann's blog

I decided a few months ago, that I wanted to start a blog. Several people I know on Facebook & via email, are doing it, but I couldn't figure out how. So here I am, trying to figure it out.

You can also find me on YouTube, here: 

Aside from making videos, I am also an avid photographer & have 2 photography websites:

 I also write poetry & have several poetry websites:

I also create simple websites, you can check out some of my sites, here:
I even tried starting up a small wedding planning & catering business:

I also have a small press Poetry publishing company, that has been offline for a couple of years now, but I will most likely be reviving it this year.